Ryan, Mike Wood spending the holidays together on the seas
Brothers in arms
TRURO - Ryan Wood will be on the other side of the world when his young family celebrates Christmas.
"For me, it's going to be tough. I have four small children and a wife," he said from HMCS Fredericton. "This is my first Christmas alone from them."
Ordinary Seaman Wood's children are 12, eight, four and one and live in Truro.
Wood and his shipmates left in late November for a six-month deployment to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa as part of Operation SAIPH.
While Christmas is a holiday where most families spend time together, it is not always possible for those serving in the Canadian forces. But Wood won't be without family members when Dec. 25 rolls around. His older brother, leading seaman Mike Wood, is also on HMCS Fredericton, but the two work on opposite shifts.
"We see each other in passing every five to seven hours," Mike said.
"It's nice to see that family face no matter for how long, or for what reason. It's nice to have that support on top of the rest of our department and the ship's company, which becomes a family fairly quickly when you go on a deployment like this."
The men and women the Woods work next to each day will make getting through the holidays a little easier.
"We all think of each other as family and take care of each other, so it's not going to be too bad," Ryan said.
The brothers come from a tight-knit navy family with their father, Stephen, currently serving and his father also having served in the navy. The brothers remember their father being away from home on Christmas and knew it was a possibility when they joined.
"It's never easy being away, but if you have the family structure and strength we both enjoy, it makes it that much easier," Mike admitted.
"We're so used to being together from extended family on. Just being away from that family organization and the things that we have come to do as tradition will be the hardest part."
The boys grew up in Shortts Lake and followed different paths before joining the navy.
"It wasn't even on my radar until probably midway through my third year in university," Mike said.
Both said they enjoy the security of working for the navy with the ability to advance their career in a workplace where most days are completely different.